Independence Bowl Breakdown

I forgot to actually post something, so here is the Rivals.com Independence Bowl breakdown with an article bashing 6-6 teams.

(HT: Rivals.com)

Independence Bowl Alabama vs. Colorado
Alabama run offense vs. Colorado run defense
EDGE: Alabama Alabama TB Terry Grant has rushed for 891 yards this year, though he did much of his damage in the first four weeks of the season. Grant could find plenty of running room against a Colorado defense that has allowed nearly 4 yards per carry.
Alabama pass offense vs. Colorado pass defense
EDGE: Colorado Colorado is 101st in the nation in pass defense, but that’s a bit misleading. Because Big 12 teams throw the ball so often, six of its members are ranked 100th or below in pass defense. Colorado has enough talent in its secondary to bother Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, who has thrown five interceptions with only one touchdown pass in his past three games.
Colorado run offense vs. Alabama run defense
EDGE: Colorado Hugh Charles rushed for at least 100 yards in four consecutive games during one midseason stretch and closed the regular season with a 169-yard performance against Nebraska. It will be interesting to see how well Charles fares against an Alabama defense that allows less than 3.5 yards per carry.
Colorado pass offense vs. Alabama pass defense
EDGE: Alabama Colorado QB Cody Hawkins played better as the season wore on, but he still has 15 interceptions. He must avoid turnovers against an Alabama defense that has picked off 17 passes this season. Hawkins also must watch out for Alabama E Wallace Gilberry , who has 17.5 tackles for loss in his past seven games.
Alabama special teams vs. Colorado special teams
EDGE: Alabama Alabama’s Leigh Tiffin has gone 22 of 31 on field-goal attempts, while P.J. Fitzgerald averages 38.2 yards per punt. Colorado’s Kevin Eberhart is 15 of 23 on field-goal attempts, while Matt DiLallo averages 40.1 yards per punt. Colorado doesn’t have a return man quite as strong as Alabama’s Javier Arenas, who has averaged 15.4 yards per punt return this season.
Alabama coaching staff vs. Colorado coaching staff
EDGE: Alabama Dan Hawkins did an exceptional job at Boise State and quickly has rebuilt Colorado’s program, but he doesn’t have Nick Saban‘s national championship background.
Alabama will win if
Wilson must reverse the late-season slide that helped cause the Tide to lose their last four games. In a best-case scenario, Grant runs so effectively that it takes some of the pressure off Wilson.
Colorado will win if
The Buffaloes need their defense to play better than it did down the stretch. Colorado has given up 137 points in its past three games. Colorado’s offense is good enough to score in the 20s against Alabama. If the Buffs have to score in the 30s or 40s, they probably won’t win.
X-factor
Most teams don’t expect their defensive tackles to do any more than stop the running game, but Colorado’s George Hypolite gives the Buffaloes a pass rusher in the middle of the line. Hypolite leads Colorado with six sacks and had two each in games against Florida State and Iowa State. Alabama could have trouble winning this game if Hypolite spends much time in the Tide’s backfield.

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